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Dominican Republic denies Canada consults on Haiti aid office | Humanitarian Crisis News

The Dominican Republic has rejected a proposal to create a Canada-led “joint security coordination team” on its territory as part of efforts to resolve the ongoing crisis in its neighbor Haiti.

Dominican Foreign Minister Roberto Alvarez condemned the prospect of hosting a Canadian office in the country, which has been positioned as a venue for coordinating international aid and providing support to Haitian police.

“The Dominican government confirms that it has not discussed, agreed or granted any authority to establish an office on our territory to coordinate support for the Haitian National Police, as indicated by information in the Canadian media,” Alvarez said. in the tweet That is Republish by the country’s Ministry of External Relations.

His words came in response to a statement by Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly at a ministerial meeting on Thursday.

“The team will strengthen international efforts in security assistance, working closely with the Haitian National Police and the United Nations to create a sustainable environment for long-term peace and security in Haiti,” Jolly said. wrote on social media afterwards.

Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Jolly arrives at Oslo City Hall on the sidelines of an informal meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Oslo, Norway, June 1.
Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Jolly announced this week an additional $13 million in aid to Haiti as part of a support package [File: Hanna Johre/NTB via Reuters]

The Joint Security Coordination Team is part of a support package Canada unveiled Thursday that includes $13 million in development assistance and crime-fighting efforts.

Joly also highlighted her country’s commitment to a “Haiti-led solution to the crisis,” likely anticipating criticism of foreign meddling in the Caribbean nation.

Haiti has grappled with a series of setbacks in recent years, from natural disasters to political chaos and gang violence.

The country is currently without a democratically elected federal leader after the term of the country’s last senator expired in January. Acting president Ariel Henry was elected prime minister by former president Jovenel Moise shortly before his assassination in 2021.

Haiti's Prime Minister Ariel Henry addresses the audience at events commemorating the 220th anniversary of the death of revolutionary leader Toussaint Louverture in Port-au-Prince
Haiti’s prime minister Ariel Henry was appointed shortly before the death of former president Jovenel Moise [File: Ralph Tedy Erol/Reuters]

With Haitian democracy faltering and no clearly scheduled elections in sight, gangs have seized power in some areas. In December, the United Nations reported that 60 percent of the capital, Port-au-Prince, was under gang control.

Systemic corruption has fueled this lawlessness, leading to a spike in violence. The United Nations estimates that 531 people were killed, 300 injured and 277 kidnapped in gang-related attacks between January 1 and March 15 this year.

The surge in gang violence has also led to food safety and other public safety concerns. The resurgence of cholera — which has not been seen in the country for three years — coincided with a gang-led port blockade in October that restricted fuel distribution and closed hospitals and public works.

Relations between Haiti and its neighbor, the Dominican Republic, have long been strained, and some fear the current instability in Haiti could spread beyond the border. Although they share an island, the two countries are often seen as having economic, cultural and ethnic differences.

Most people in the Spanish-speaking Dominican Republic are of mixed race, while Haiti’s population is mostly black and speaks Creole or French.

Their shared 392-kilometer (244-mile) border has historically been the site of flare-ups between the two countries — with unrest continuing in Haiti, the Dominican Republic has begun building a border wall to keep out potential migrants and asylum seekers.

The Dominican Republic has also recently stepped up deportations of Haitians — and those who allegedly appear to be from Haiti, sparking accusations of xenophobia and racism.

Haiti’s acting president Henry has called on the international community to authorize the “immediate deployment of a dedicated armed force” to help subdue the country’s gangs and restore peace.

But countries such as Canada and the United States have been reluctant to lead international troops to Haiti, and many Haitians have criticized the prospect of foreign intervention.

in a friday statementHomero Figueroa, a spokesman for Dominican President Luis Abinard, acknowledged the concerns and reiterated that his government had not agreed to any joint initiative with Canada.

“Due to historical reasons, the Dominican Republic cannot participate in any initiative that promises direct action in Haiti,” he said.

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